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More than 3000 people attend Victorian Hospital Emergency Departments suffering burn related each year. 300 of those arrive at the Alfred Burns Unit...

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What is a Burns Unit? The Burns unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital is the designated paediatric burns unit for Victoria. More than 600 children present...

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Burns Alliance

The Royal Children’s Hospital Burns Department and the Safety Centre, together with representatives from the state’s fire services and the Alfred Hospital and The Royal Children’s Hospital Burns Units have...

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Prevention tips

Kitchen safety

The kitchen is a common site for many children’s injuries. Paying attention to a number of areas in the kitchen can help prevent injuries.

Kitchen design and organisation

  • Consider a safety gate at the entrance to the kitchen to prevent access when cooking.
  • Make sure corners at a child’s height are rounded or padded.
  • Use child resistant locks on cupboards, especially those containing detergents and dishwasher tablets, powder or liquid.
  • Position all electrical outlets close to the bench surfaces where the appliances will be used.
  • Never put poisons in food or drink containers. Poisons should be kept in their original containers and clearly labelled.
  • Make sure that drawers or cupboards with knives, scissors,  matches and lighters have child resistant locks fitted.
  • Design the stove and sink to be close to each other—this minimises carrying of hot food and possible scalds. Have benches on either side of the stove to avoid the need to carry hot food and liquids.
  • Items that are used frequently should be stored within easy reach and at a convenient height, preferably between shoulder and hip height.Prevention Tips in the kitchen
  • Ensure that floors have a non-slip surface.
  • Wipe up spills immediately.
  • Avoid changes in floor level.
  • Keep children’s toys out of the kitchen—they are easy to trip over.

Electrical safety

  • Switch off and unplug appliances after use.
  • Replace any damaged plugs or frayed electrical cords.
  • Avoid extension cords and double adaptors—a safety power board is better.
  • Fit plastic power point protectors to electrical outlets when not in use.
  • Keep appliances away from the sink area and do not use appliances or power points with wet hands.
  • Ask an electrician to install safety switches. These can cut off power quickly to avoid accidental electrocution.

Microwave safety

  • Make sure the microwave is out of the reach of children.
  • Food and liquid heated in the microwave can reach scalding temperatures very quickly. The heat is often uneven so it is important to shake or stir the contents before serving.
  • Always check the temperature of food or liquid before serving.
  • Avoid glass bottles and containers as they may crack or even explode when heated in the microwave.
  • Warm up a baby’s bottle without the teat or cap. If the bottle feels warm to touch, then the contents are probably too hot
  • for baby.
  • Test the temperature of the milk by pouring a few drops on the inside of the wrist; it should feel just warm on the skin.
  • When food is heated or cooked in a covered container, steam that can scald is trapped inside. Remove the lid or plastic
  • Cover food from the far side of the container so steam rises away from you.

Preventing burns and scalds

  • Avoid hanging cords on electric kettles and other appliances; use short or curly cords or a cordless jug.
  • Hotplates: Use the back burners whenever possible.
  • Pots and saucepans: Turn handles away from the edge of the stove.
  • Stove: Use a stove guard to protect young children from scalds
  • Hot drinks: Keep them away from children and never have a child on your lap while you have a hot drink.
  • Table: Put all hot liquids and food in the centre of the table and away from the edges.
  • Tablecloths: Children can pull the edge of the tablecloth and pull hot fluids over themselves. Use non-slip place mats instead.
  • Playpen: When busy in the kitchen, use a playpen or safety gate to avoid the child getting underfoot.
  • Hot water: Turn down the temperature of the hot water to 50 degrees to avoid scalding.
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